Sixty percent of marketers are not making the most of e-mail campaigns because they are still using ‘spray and pray’ tactics, according to Forrester Research. While marketers are under increasing pressure to grow their databases and get their message out to as many people as possible, the most important factor however should be that e-mails are sent out timely, relevant and, above all, wanted. In the current climate, companies can not afford to let potential sales drop because of an ineffective e-mail marketing strategy which serves little purpose.
The best way to avoid this is to segment. My recommendations are to start with the basics. Make sure you have a ‘clean’ target list and everyone on there has asked to receive e-mail communication. There is no point sending unwanted mails, it’s a waste of time and money.
Take your time. Many companies are in such a rush to gather data and build lists that they end up with sections missing, making it impossible to effectively target customers. Every section, such as gender specification should be accurate.
Don’t over-complicate. Start with the broader categories first, such as splitting targets by male/female. It makes a real difference and will immediately increase the open rate. Also, ask the right questions. When a customer registers or opts in to receive e-mails, make sure information such as age or location is gathered, this will help to target them with specific offers or information.
Once you’ve got it, maintain it. Update databases when individuals choose to unsubscribe, this will maintain a clean list and avoid unnecessary e-mails.
Segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated. Even differentiating by gender can have a huge impact. The process can be completely automated and is as easy as clicking the right button – as long as the database is strong. Such tactics will lead to demonstrable return-on-investment and ultimately have a positive influence on the bottom line.
 Forrester: Optimising Email Marketing In An Economic Slowdown And Its impact On Vendor Selection, David Daniels, March 13, 2009